Working innovatively with communities and developing student employability, through creating innovative educational experiences. Contact us on edlab @ mmu.ac.uk
“EdLab isn’t about teaching you other people’s clever ideas, it’s about creating a platform in which your brilliance and your creativity take centre stage.” – Dr Mark Peace, Faculty Head of Education
EdLab is a student enrichment unit which aims to develop innovative educational provision, practice and possibilities, through developing community engagement with sustainable, genuine and positive impact. EdLab recognises the academic and social potential where knowledge generation and exchange is decentralised and collaborative between students and their local and regional communities.
To achieve this, students are encouraged and supported to work with communities to solve problems and add value in inventive and enterprising ways. We see opportunities for students to explore innovations in learning, teaching and educational provision, by working with communities in informal spaces to enrich the experiences of learners, youth and community.
EdLab projects will be a way for our students to build their experience and skills in innovative practice in order to develop their distinctiveness as future employees within different sectors. To support this, we will integrate these experiences into the delivery and assessment of formal course units. This will also provide a means to nurture the sustainability of community projects by making them part of our normal activities. Thus EdLab recognises the value of extracurricular student activities, as well as community and public engagement.
EdLab outreach projects will work with multiple departments across Manchester Metropolitan University to enhance employability, employment and enterprise.
What’s it like studying on EdLab?
Our units may feel unusual in their approach to begin with; they almost certainly won’t be like your broader programme of study. They are based around the principle of project-based learning, which asks learners to respond to real world opportunities and problems. As such, there is no pre-defined curriculum – and certainly no set right answers or things you definitely much have understood and learnt. Instead, our provision is underpinned by a generative pedagogy in which your tutors will facilitate your ongoing conceptual understanding as you undertake engagements with real-world educational contexts, and produce understandings in response.
This approach has a number of real benefits to students. It lets you form authentic and contextually-engaged understandings of education which feed into your broader studies. It is also a way of working in which you are able to develop and showcase your ability to respond to unfamiliar problems, to take initiative and leadership, to manage activities from inception to completion. These are all important enterprise attributes, and skills and capacities which are invaluable in supporting your broad employability profile.
What do students say about EdLab?
“I definitely think that EdLab improves your employability. I am now able to provide real world examples of the skills I have developed whilst at university. Edlab also enables you to gain experience in a range of settings not just in the classroom.” Sonia Kumar – BA Early Years and Childhood Studies
“Edlab provides a lot of flexibility; I’ve found this particularly important as a future practitioner because it creates a safe space for testing out ideas and new approaches to education that will ultimately inform the way I teach children in my future career.” Aiysha Malik – BA Early Years and Childhood Studies
How does it work?
As an EdLab candidate, you are given an allocation of EdLab ‘Hours’ which indicate how long you should spend engaging with projects through the programme. The number of hours is equivalent to the number of credits you are signed up to earn (so 15 or 30 hours for a half or full unit respectively). Your hours can be spent delivering and facilitating educational activities, and designing and resourcing them – and each project will indicate how many hours are associated with each of these.
Each project has a supervising member of staff – who will act as your tutor. Their role is to facilitate your creative processes, and to help to negotiate access to educational settings where needed. These staff will have a specific interest in the project you are undertaking and will be able to support you in developing an innovative and creative response. Soon after you have been allocated to your projects, supervisors will contact their teams to audit availability and start to pin down key dates for meetings.